I guess where I’d distinguish UK “club” from “bass” is in how they treat the low end. In most “bass” genres there’s an emphasis on throbbing sub bass as the primary element, with more percussive elements layered on top. I hear this approach all the way back to LFO’s Track 4, through jungle, dnb, dubstep, grime - they all have this emphasis on sub frequencies, often giving the track a halftime feel underneath double-time percussion. Dub and soundsystem culture is the running current through this.
To me the “club” thing is new in its emphasis on heavy, syncopated percussion over sub-bass. It opts for syncopated kick drums punctuating the low end, rather than sustained subs. This gives it a more uptempo, forward-motion feel at ~130 or 140, vocal snippets, synth lines layered over top…
this one’s a little more “deconstructed” but still carries the same kind of feel:
As they mentioned in the article, as opposed to its deconstructed counterpart, “club” is actually fun.
People seem hesitant these days to declare something “new,” as “everything’s been done before,” and “everything is just a combination of previous styles,” but to me a lot these tracks do bring something new that I was not hearing in the 2000s. There’s definitely a US club influence (jersey, juke, ballroom, bounce), but they take those beats and graft these grime/hardstyle type synths onto it, with all this slamming stop-and-go metallic percussion that’s reminiscent of industrial, but with a satisfying amount of negative space between each beat. Its kind of funny to me its called “club” because, although I’m sure it sounds great it the club, it really comes off to me as a new breed of UK rave music, with all the classic E’d up production cues - frantic percussion, forward-momentum energy, synth riffs/arpeggios/motifs, massive basslines, warped vocals samples. The first time I heard this music I was rolling at a rave, and it just clicked.
The kind of hodgepodge of styles and samples and rhythms all slammed together kind of reminds me of early UK hardcore, but while that movement was relentlessly euphoric, this new wave sounds much less optimistic and more grounded in contemporary realities, like we’re all broke and alienated so let’s get fucked up and go hard while we’re still on this planet.
This is the best example of this vibe I’ve heard in a mix: